Saturday, 13 October 2018


the journey home 

being a travelling angler aint so bad. the biggest worry is usually what flies and gear you need to take and what to leave behind especially when it comes to pike and muskys . luckily anything i am missing can quickly tied up at brother kens.  

once you have your destination its really a case of packing what you need for your trip and allowing for any issues that arise like breaking a rod and not having a spare; that can prove costly and indeed ruin a trip if you aint got a tackle shop close) .

i use this orvis rolling luggage and does the job very well and has a great stiff protected bottom dept for rods and boxes that could get busted up during travel; only downside is that it really only accommodates 4 piece rods in 9ft lengths which is a bugger as one of the rods i wanted to take was a 3 piece and wouldn't fit in the case . but all was good as i had another 4 piece in the form of the new Shakespeare agility in a 10 wgt which actually is a bloody great rod for the dosh and perfect for what i need .   

so i managed to get eventually everything i needed in the case which was mostly tackle to be honest as i could wash my clothes in the river while i was fishing so only needed a few shirts and some evening where in the form of some sweat pants oh and some roll on and that is pretty much it and how i roll on these trips; so gear sorted time for a good sleep as i was going to be up at 6am the following day .

usually when i head over to vermont i travel via new york then usually get the vermonter train all the way up to st albans where brother ken picks me up , however this year for whatever reason the flights were very expensive (i later found out it was because i was there when it was labour day so that pushed the prices up) but undeterred i looked for other options and thankfully i know my way around the states quite well so i wasnt worried where i landed in the states as i knew how to get where i wanted .

so after a look around i decided to go (purely on price) via Chicago and montreal in canada and then a very short hop down to the us border at highgate on lake champlain where i would meet up with ken , so my original plan was to hook up with ken around 1:30 am have a few hours sleep then head up to new york state to float for muskys in the canoe , well that was the plan .   

the flight from Edinburgh was pretty much standard with united airlines and as per usual i was approached by boarder agency with a million and one questions ,, which was pretty strange as i was actually queuing to get my tickets  but hey you know i dont mind as they are keeping the country safe , so dont really have an issue with this .

so landed in Chicago and picked up my luggage (survived)  and headed for immigration , whos only question for me after where i had come from was if i had any haggis in my luggage ( i didn't lol)  i had a few hours to wait for my connecting flight up to Montreal so headed for some food and drink to pass the time

about 30 mins before boarding they announced that there would be a delay due to an upcoming weather front , well i had actually seen this coming in before they announced it so i was kinda not surprised really . 

plane delays are an arse but id rather be safe and it was crazy sheet lightning and monsoon weather so after around 90 mins we started to board  and i was luckily enough to get a seat to myself for the journey up to Montreal  .

you know i dont mind flying but taking off i mean i really turn into a wreck im fine when im up there and landing but dear taking off er naw , so i plugged in the headphones and plugged in some 80s thrash metal which turned the whole thing into a cool moment ....i survived  

nearly there 

the approach to Montreal was very cool with lovely views across the city at night , and i touched down safety and after a lengthy wait i cleared customs (again) with no issues ,, so i walked out into the night and looked for a ride down to the U.S border at highgate on the edge of lake champlain

here is where i needed to be
the U.S border

actually where i ended up was in the Canadian border crossing some distance away from the us border let me explain 

by the time i got down to the border it was around 3:30 am so i wander in to a very dark border office and i kinda stroll in and surprise two very sleepy border guards who clearly where not expecting anybody to cross  so they say
border guard"er what do you want "
me "er to get in "
border guard "in where"
me "er america "
border guard "this is the crossing into canada"
me "fook"
border guard " the american crossing is down the highway there , that big building"
me "how do i get there"
border guard "you walk"
me "fook"

so i head down the thankfully deserted highway and approach the us border through the car entrance and straight away get apprehended by the american crossing officers who pretty much wanted to know everything since i was conceived about why i wanted into the usa .

now i quite understand there questioning , i mean the sight of me in shorts t shirt and rolling fly luggage looking like some kind of bizarre Scottish Bigfoot walking down the highway is enough for any border agent to  question my motives , anyway they hauled me into the border office and after 30 mins of examining my passport and travel plans they decided that i was safe enough to be let loose on the american fish stocks .

so by this time i had been keeping ken up to speed on my approximate time of arrival and he lives fairly close to the border so it was pretty much a case of him driving up and picking me up which he did . it was actually so good to see this guy who i call a brother and we hat a long hug and a back slap and you know it was like i hadn't been away and he bought me a monster energy and a pack of roasies jerky so life at this point was very good , id landed back in my second home and i could breath a sigh of relief .

so we arrived back at kens place and i opened up a pack from the guys at svs (knickelback stickers are cool fellas) and by this time it was near to 5am so after pretty much 34 odd hours traveling im guessing youd be thinking id be grabbing some shut eye well nope  me and the redneck decided we would load up the canoe and head up into new york state and float a river for muskys im here to fish hard so straight into it .

the hunt for muskies

so ken was pretty much my guide on this one as my use of canoes and fishing is virtually zilch , but on the plus side im a great swimmer so the plan was that ken would drop me by the road, next to the river with the canoe , which i would get down the bank and into the water , ken would take the truck and head down stream and then bike back to the start point , to save a bit of time i rigged up the rods and got the boat ready for kens return .

 as i said this was my first time fishing from a canoe so i was a little apprehensive on how it was going to go and to be honest i was also a little excited but this would be my only crack at the muskies this trip as i had other things i had to do and fish to catch

so we drifted the river and ken pretty much told me where to cast as we drifted across river that was literally 3 inchs deep going into deep slow flows where the big flies and fast sink lines would hit the deck among the big sunken logs where the muskies live , this was bloody exciting stuff.

drifting down the river with the odd paddle to help us along and i actually saw my first musky firing across the shallows getting out of our way and on the other side of the river a big shoal of suckers going past  this was clearly what the muskie was after quite an amazing site 

so we tried and we tried and we hit all the spots that ken has had fish from before and we hit spots that were absolutely predator hotspots but it was to no avail  we floated for literally miles pushed the canoe over the shallows and fished deep meandering curves of the river i managed 3 hits (didn't connect) and ken had a couple of hits and a few follows but it just wasn't to be .

they say these fish are the fish of 10:000 casts and i can well believe it  but you know i absolutely loved it and it was one of the highlights of the trip and im so looking forward to going back and trying that again , what an absolute blast.

those who know will know the river those who dont please dont ask as i respect the wishes of the folks who fish it ....thank you  

the river from hell 

the breakfast of the vermont angler. ken cooked up a great breakfast with this amazing muffin type thing that with egg and sausage and other stuff , i mean this was absolutely beautiful in fack i actually had two with a cup of kens magic coffee which comes from a machine that i still cant work, but this certainly hit the spot 

today we were going chasing smallmouths in pocket water and to be honest this is one of the reasons that i keep coming back (well dispite kens cooking) as fishing pocket water is fantastic , dropping in to pools behind massive iceage boulders and rocks chasing these absolute tanks on 7 wgt fly rods in fast water is really, adrenaline pumping stuff and when you hook one well hell you know about it ,, theres no other fish that i know off that can give you a rumble like these things and its always a blast to fish for them .  

this trip was all about traveling light as we would be doing a lot of walking looking for runs and pools , ken is an excellent guide and know his stuff like no other ive met so this part i was really looking forward too 


as we pulled into the verge i was greeted by this site  as i looked i released if it hadn't been for the soaring heat and the abundance of american snacks in the front of kens truck i would have thought i was in scotland but looks can be deceptive 

this river was really something that i havent encountered before a boulder strewn river straight out of the Jurassic age  massive rocks and boulders both in the river and on the bank which made moving around extremely difficult even in just wading boots  well except for ken who has the agility of a mountain goat and is more used to these rivers than i am and was at the holes long before me .

but thats part of the adventure finding and experiencing new places and new techniques and this day certainly tested me , we actually walked  miles up this river jumping in to small fishy looking pools and ken had the first score with a great looking fish teased out from right behind a rock .

a great way to start 

so we fished this pool for a bit then headed up river to a spot ken knew there was a few smallies in  so after a 10 min hike through the rocks and bankside vegetation i saw what can only be described a rock the size of a large truck just kinda sitting there in the water with a fast run in front of it and a really nice looking bit of slack water behind it .

i cast a clouser upstream and let it drift down the current until it was slightly downstream from me then stripped it back  kens advice was sound as the 7 weight buckled over with my first smallie of the trip. again i cannot stress how much these things fight and they just new stop going for it , absolutely amazing fish. and pound for pound the hardest fighting fish i have encountered .

happy i have opened my smallie account for the trip 

ken on a rock doing what he does , you can see the type of bank we were faced with and i can tell ya its not the easiest to wet wade in but still great fun as you search around for that next pool or run which is always just up there and then the next and then the next , you know how it goes 

i decided while we were at the big boulder to change fly so i stuck on what i call a scrap fly which was bassicly bits of olive and white dna fibre , the thing with me is i never throw anything away when tying pike flies as i know i can use it for smaller perch and smaller predator flies and this was a prime example.

i always love to catch a new species on the fly and on the last trip out here on the last day fishing with ken he caught a fallfish , quite a fiesty fish and great on the fly i really wanted one on the 3wgt at the time but i had run out of time for that year , so i tied on my scrap fly and cast slightly upstream and across the current and let it drift down then pinched it back as it was drifting down and then bang . what followed was a spirited fight with my first fallfish (kinda like a supercharged uk chub) so that was another ticked of my list 

we spent the rest of the day up and down the river dropping into pools and generally having a laugh  as we always do with ken shouting back "hey you ok old timer` yea funny bro , and kept hooking into fish despite the heat , we are talking it was up into the 90s by the time the afternoon came but it does make wet wading fun and cooling , by far my favorite way of fishing

find a sutible casting rock and go 

when i said it wasnt easy fishing i meant it , hard hard going but when you get to a spot like this it all becomes worth it  and you can see why traveling light is the way to go on these trips and to be honest all you ever need for a day can be fitted in a chest bag and slung over your shoulder.

boom another smallie falls to the scrap fly on a wild river far far away. i love fishing with a chest bag , this one is a william Joseph which i bizarrely found on a facebook market place pace from a u.s seller so i mailed him and he agreed it would be cool to send it up to ken and i would pick it up while i was there save a fortune in post and packing to the uk , so thanks again fella this really did the job and suited all, my needs ......

so we carried on up the river and well we have to call a point where you know we have to walk all the way back we came and of course a bit of fishing on the way , so ken called it and we headed back, as we walked ken stopped by a long glide and said fancy a swim , well actually i did , the heat was unbearable so in we went and hell it was good .

 so after getting back to the truck we headed back off to kens via the local store to stock up on energy drinks , rosies jerky and doughnuts . and plan the next days adventures 

the fly store in the middle of nowhere 

ok so ken told me about this store a few times and i really enjoy visiting and supporting small local, stores and especially in the states as there is far more choice but this was beyond my wildest dreams and just so feckin cool.,

so after breakfast we headed of to rolands place which was literally in the middle of nowhere  when we arrived the place was closed but this is the way it is as you can see by his website 

so we hung about in the carpark for roland to arrive and i still couldn't really believe what i was seeing so took a little video of the store 

i dream of places like this where you can just walk in sit down and tye flies with the owner and have a chat and purchase a few things i have to say it was a pleasure to meet roland and if you get the chance or your just passing south hero then drop in  youll be glad you did and theres even one of my big flies, hanging from, the wall, behind the counter .

so thanks roland was a pleasure to meet you and thanks for the bag of candy see you again in may

lake champlain
so near yet so far

return to Vermont pt 2 of 3 next week

pt two will feature lake Champlain and lake carmi

pt 3 will feature a fantastic day with dan the paramedic deep in bigfoot country chasing brooktrout and wild rainbows in wild places 

(thought it would be better to do this in 3 parts to do the trip justice)

thanks all
(a cave in scotland)

No comments: